Conservation

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AZA is concerned about species survival and ecosystem health and therefore dedicated to making substantial positive impacts for their conservation. Accreditation Standards and Board approved policies have been established to ensure this objective is achieved and often evolve to meet increasingly rigorous criteria. An abundance of educational information, planning tools, databases, funding sources, awards, reintroduction programs, and specialized conservation projects have been created to advance animal conservation initiatives and strategies. In addition, AZA cooperates with numerous conservation partners and AZA members work collaboratively within Committees, Animal Programs, and Scientific Advisory Groups to guarantee that sophisticated conservation and research programs, both in zoos and aquariums as well as in the field, are successful.

Zoo & Aquarium Field Conservation

While AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums provide society the opportunity to develop unparalleled personal connections with the animals in their care, they also serve as conservation centers that are concerned about ecosystem health, take responsibility for species survival, and make substantial contributions to research, conservation, and education. Read more about the field conservation action zoos and aquariums are involved in.

Reintroduction Programs

Reintroduction programs for animals raised or rehabilitated in AZA-accredited zoos or aquariums are powerful mechanisms used for stabilizing, re-establishing, or increasing in situ animal populations. AZA and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources/Species Survival Commission play key roles in advancing the science of reintroduction programs that AZA and its accredited zoos and aquariums participate in. Numerous reference materials and tools have been developed to advance reintroduction programs. Read more about Reintroduction Programs.

Zoo & Aquarium Sustainable Practices

Conservation of wildlife requires conservation of natural resources. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are implementing numerous sustainable practices within their own business operations. AZA has developed many mechanisms to encourage and facilitate this effort including the development of a Green Guide, Green Tool Box, Green Award, and Affinity Purchasing Partnerships. Read more about Zoo & Aquarium Sustainable Practices. Read more about Zoo & Aquarium Sustainable Practices.

Initiatives

AZA and its accredited zoos and aquariums are involved in many large-scale conservation initiatives that address a multitude of related issues.  AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are involved in conservation breeding, habitat preservation, public education, field conservation, and supportive research to ensure survival for many of the planet's threatened or endangered species. Learn more about AZA Conservation Initiatives.

Partnerships

AZA develops valuable conservation partnerships to increase member and public awareness of animal related conservation issues. Extensive effort is expended to save species from imminent extinction by determining the best ex situ ways to care for, reproduce, reintroduce, and re-establish in situ populations including the California condor, Wyoming toad, red wolf, Hawaiian birds, and black-footed ferret. Read more about Conservation Partnerships.

Funding

With its more than 220 accredited members, AZA continues to build North America's largest wildlife conservation movement. Since 1991, the AZA Conservation Grants Fund (CGF; previously known as the Conservation Endowment Fund or CEF), which supports the cooperative conservation-related scientific and educational initiatives of AZA, its members, and its collaborators, has provided over $6 million to almost 350 conservation projects worldwide. Detailed information about the CGF and other potential conservation funding sources are provided. Read more about Conservation Funding.

Research

AZA believes that a commitment to scientific research is a trademark of the modern zoological park and aquarium. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums conduct or facilitate research, both in in-situ and ex-situ settings, to advance our scientific knowledge of the animals in our care and enhance the conservation of wild populations. Many AZA-accredited institutions incorporate superior behavioral training programs into their routine schedules to facilitate sensory, cognitive, and physiological research investigations.  Read more about Conservation Research